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NEWSMAKERS: 1-15 September 2001

Omar Abdullah, the new minister of state for external affairs, is about to stand for his senior, Jaswant Singh, in the forthcoming Indian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.
In July, Omar was sent by Vajpayee as his special envoy to Libya to pave ways of diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Tripoli. Though he could not meet Libyan president Moammar Gaddafi, the PM was happy with his performance. He will also be an international spokesman of the Indian Kashmiris.
However, all this will require much internal diplomatic skills. Omar skillfully side-stepped controversy when asked as to how he would balance the opposing views on J&K between the government he represents and his father.

Ruhaab Khan of GD Goenka Public School (Vasant Kunj, New Delhi) was declared the best swimmer in girls Group VII category at the end of the two-day Delhi State Open Aquatic Championships at the National Stadium pool.
Ruhaab established as many as four meet records during the two days. Her new records included: 50m freestyle, 50m back, 50m breast and 50m butterfly. Prizes were given away by Shanti Desai, Mayor of Delhi.

Mirza Tanners Ltd. is India's foremost shoe manufacturer. The integrated shoe manufacturing unit makes over 3 million pairs of men's leather shoes annually. This is possible with five state of the art plants spread across the country. It claims to have captured 15 percent of the leather footwear market in the country. Red Tape is considered synonymous with high fashion range of casual and semi formal shoes for men. Its other brands are Oaktrak, Alloys, Oakridge.
The designs of shoes are sketched in London, with a discerning eye on the fashion and trends. Last year company's turnover was Rs 16-18 crore. Now they have the ambition to cross the Rs 100 crore mark in next five years. Their stall in Pargati Maidan in New Delhi in the recently held Shoe Fair was a mammoth success.
Irshad Mirza, chairman of the company is also the chairman of the Council for Leather Exports. He was the brain behind organizing the shoe fair this year. He is also chairman of the state Minority Commission, UP.

Mrs Shehnaz Nabi, a reader at Calcutta University, an eminent Urdu poetess, a budding politician and a dedicated social worker would agree with the idea that, 'Women have to be twice as good to be considered half as good.'
Being a single woman she had her own share of trials and tribulations in carving a niche for herself in all these areas. But, a woman of grit as she is, she took all these challenges in her stride and came out victorious.
She hails from a middle class family. Her inclination towards literature was further strengthened by the erudite atmosphere of her family.
She got her first nazm published when she was in 11th standard. Today, her poetry has got recognition both in India and abroad. Her two collections of poetry dealing with romanticism of youth are, Bheegi ruton ki katha (nazms) and Mujhe mat chhuo (odes and nazms).
Her later poems deal with today's woman and her problems, delineation of one human being from another and gradual depletion of relationships and values.
She has also done PhD in Development of Urdu Criticism after 1960, and has done Research papers and articles. Apart from making mark in both literary field: literature and teaching, she is also running and NGO called AWARE, i.e. Annesa Women's Association for Rehabilitation and Employment, to teach helpless women of all age groups fundamental education and various arts and crafts.
As for her inspiration, she feels that a sensible person need not be inspired by something in particular. But he/she can draw inspiration from any quarter of life, any moment. She feels that the future of Urdu literature is bright. Her motto for herself and for the budding writers is that, 'They should write exactly whatever they feel, instead of imitating someone they admire. Spontaneity is the key.'

The dashing 32 year old man and the 250 CC bike he rides are made in India. "Completely", he takes care to emphasise. The man, M J Khalid, a TV journalist, insists that India has a certain copyright on the idea of unconditional, unfettered peace. "Mahatma Buddha, Mahatma Mahavir and Mahatma Gandhi were only expressions of the general Indian ethos of peace," he argues. O.K. One has to listen to him because what he says sounds reasonable enough. Also, his TV anchor's clipped accent and forceful gestures carry the message convincingly.
And this man thinks the world has to be told about all this. But, does the world not know already? "Still, it needs reiteration," he insists. So, he and his made-in-India bike are going out on a 90-day peace mission, roaring through 20 countries, leaving New Delhi on October 2, Gandhi Jyanti Day.
"The world has to be told about who we are, and we also have to learn from others", he says. The symbolism of October 2 is not lost on any one. Interestingly, the world already seems to be listening, so to say. He will be President Khatami's guest for a day in Teheran before crossing into Iraq, the Balkans, Western Europe and Northern Europe.
Everywhere he would meet heads of state, cultural activists, intellectuals, journalists, other people. He will record everything on film as he is carrying a hi-tech movie camera. He would also note in down in his big diary, for a book to be written later. Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Uma Bharati would flag off the journey from Raj Ghat. On return to India, he would be received at a still higher level with appropriate protocol and pageantry. Best of journey. And, Jai Hind!

Noted Malayalam litterateur, Mr NP Muhammed has been appointed as the chairman of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. This was announced by the State Minister for Cultural affairs, Mr. G.Kartikeyan.
N.P, author of over 25 books, is well known among literary circles of Kerala for his priceless contributions to the Malayalam literature over the last five decades. Since he was very much involved in the cultural field, he knew every pulse of Kerala’s cultural life.
His novels, ‘Daivattinte Kannu’ and ‘Ennappadangal’ have been rated highly by critics.
The high profile septagenarian writer spoke about his plans at length. According to him, “It is high time that the upper caste flavour of Malayalam literature is changed, it is also hightime that adequate representation is given on Kerala Sahitya Akademi to the young generation of writers, minority communities and women”.
Muhammed is of the view that the Akademi should invigorate the cultural and literary scene of the villages. He also made it clear he was determined to keep the Akademi insulated from play of group politics. But nobody in the cultural field can say to what extent he will succeed in his above said policy. If he succeeds in it, that can do wonders in a state where everything is politicized.
N.P, who rendered Alija Ali Izet Begovic’s Islam between East and West to Malayalam, has won different literary awards including the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award.


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